Two Bangla camel jockeys repatriated

ABU DHABI - The Bangladeshi Embassy in Abu Dhabi repatriated two camel jockeys recently, a diplomat at the mission told Khaleej Times on Monday.

By Anwar Ahmad

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Published: Wed 30 Jul 2008, 2:05 AM

Last updated: Sun 5 Apr 2015, 6:20 PM

One jockey was repatriated by the embassy and the other was sent home with the help of the Bangladeshi community.

The latter was traced in Al Mafraq region.

He was residing with Indians and had forgotten his native Bengali language.

In a major repatriation operation, the mission had earlier sent home around 200 child jockeys and helped them reunite with their family members, with the financial assistance of the UAE government and technical support of Unicef, Mohammed Shahid Bakhtiar Alam, Deputy head of mission and consul, said.

He said, "We cannot say exactly how the two boys had entered the country but they were brought here on the promise of a good life and quality education with the consent of their parents. When they reached here, they were pushed into the job of camel jockeys."

Unicef and the UAE government have been taking effective and praiseworthy measures to end the menace, said the official.

"Our people here are working in this regard. Whenever we come to know of any Bangladeshi working as a camel jockey, we send him back to the country with the help of Unicef and the UAE government which pays compensation," Alam said.

"The Unicef has signed an agreement with the UAE government in this regard. So, every child is given around $1,000 as rehabilitation compensation. The money is deposited in their accounts from which Taka 1,000 is paid to him every month. They are also compensated in Bangladesh as the country's Ministry of Interior is involved in the matter," explained the official.

"The Bangladeshi government has formed a three-member administrative board to monitor the camel jockeys," embassy said.

In May 2005, Unicef and the UAE government signed an agreement to return the children formerly employed as camel jockeys to their countries of origin and reintegrate them into their communities in nations such as Bangladesh, Mauritania, Pakistan and Sudan as most of the camel jockeys are from these countries.

In 2005, the UAE government also passed a federal law prohibiting the recruitment and use of children under the age of 18 as camel jockeys. Violators face jail terms of up to three years and/or a fine of Dh50,000.

According to the Unicef statistics, over 1,000 former camel jockeys, 93 per cent of them under the age of ten, had been repatriated to their countries and reunited with their families.

Unicef continues to follow up to ensure their successful reintegration into their communities.

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